The morning routine is predictably easy now. It is a daily relief to me – which is good because I can use the encouragement right now.
When I was dropping off Daniel and Robert the Reading Resource teacher was walking up to the school and stopped to talk to me. She told me that she had pushed some buttons yesterday.
“Yes, you did,” I replied. “Daniel and I had a great conversation yesterday as a result. We worked out that he needs to test on at least 2 RC (Reading Counts) points every day until Winter Break to make his deadline.”
Mrs. T. raised her eyebrows. “Well, Daniel can’t test on the computer today, but Daniel, if you tell me what book you are testing on today then I will print them out for you.”
Daniel grimaced and looked down at his shoes as he replied, “I don’t have any books. I didn’t read.”
“Oh, well never mind,” I interjected. “Thank you anyway.”
Tonight, I got an email from Daniel’s primary teacher, Mrs. H. She said Daniel is not completing his homework and is not getting his agenda signed. He also is resisting going to his reading class. As a result, he is losing work habits points.
I called Daniel in. I explained that if he was a college student, his teacher would send this kind of email to him directly (if at all) and so I was going to read it to him. When I finished Daniel looked a little agitated.
“Don’t tell me that kind of stuff,” Daniel said. “It makes me feel icky.”
“Daniel, I am just your email inbox on this one. If it makes you feel icky, it isn’t my fault. I am just the messenger.”
As I left to take Robert to basketball, I stuck my head in Daniel’s room. He was sitting there watching TV. “I just wanted to tell you what I would say if you were a college student living at home. I am very disappointed with how you are handling your studies right now.” I walked out.
When I got home, Daniel told me he was reading but within 10 minutes I could hear the TV from his room. If he read at all, it wasn’t for long or it was with the distraction of the TV.
I am looking towards Saturday now. I am trying to figure out how to balance the success of his improved attitude and success in his daily routine with the complete refusal to complete any homework he did not like. I don’t want to turn back into the controlling mom. I also have to admit I am tentative to be back in the place of restricting the privileges he loves. I have not missed the daily conflict over that kind of restriction. I want to find a way to teach him to choose to face those things that are hard for him and tackle them first instead of putting them off. I have a lot to think about this week.
How do you teach a child to be proactive rather than procrastinate?